Posts tagged democratic republic of congo

Photo by Stefan Dold/MSF
Under any circumstances, it’s not an easy task traveling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe. Now imagine doing it while carrying a refrigerator. This is exactly what UK native and Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next month as they mount an expedition to test 40,000 people in remote villages of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness.
The mission is taking them to the town of Bili, among other places, in the far north of the country. Bili sits in a heavily forested area between the river Uélé and the border with Central African Republic. The area is a global hotspot for sleeping sickness, a disease transmitted by the tsetse fly that is fatal if it’s not treated. Some 85 percent of all sleeping sickness cases are found in DRC, in fact. But the region is so difficult to reach that the problem has long gone ignored.
“We came to the district because it is in the most active focus of sleeping sickness in the world,” says Turner. “Yet this fatal disease is just not tackled here due to insecurity and the remoteness of the area.”
In early April 2013, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team installed a laboratory and treatment ward in Bili hospital and began testing local people for the disease. Once the entire population of the town has been tested, the team will turn its focus to about 50 other villages located deep in the surrounding rainforest. People diagnosed with the disease will be referred to the hospital in Bili.
“The team will be on the road for three to four weeks in a row,” says Turner. “Sometimes they will be on motorbikes to make their way along barely accessible paths through the forest. They will move to a new village every day and sleep in tents. By doing this, we expect to find and cure several hundred infected patients.”
Read more: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6797&cat=field-news

Photo by Stefan Dold/MSF

Under any circumstances, it’s not an easy task traveling along muddy rainforest tracks by motorbike and crossing swollen rivers by dugout canoe. Now imagine doing it while carrying a refrigerator. This is exactly what UK native and Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) project coordinator Will Turner and his team will be doing for the next month as they mount an expedition to test 40,000 people in remote villages of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for sleeping sickness.

The mission is taking them to the town of Bili, among other places, in the far north of the country. Bili sits in a heavily forested area between the river Uélé and the border with Central African Republic. The area is a global hotspot for sleeping sickness, a disease transmitted by the tsetse fly that is fatal if it’s not treated. Some 85 percent of all sleeping sickness cases are found in DRC, in fact. But the region is so difficult to reach that the problem has long gone ignored.

“We came to the district because it is in the most active focus of sleeping sickness in the world,” says Turner. “Yet this fatal disease is just not tackled here due to insecurity and the remoteness of the area.”

In early April 2013, MSF’s mobile sleeping sickness team installed a laboratory and treatment ward in Bili hospital and began testing local people for the disease. Once the entire population of the town has been tested, the team will turn its focus to about 50 other villages located deep in the surrounding rainforest. People diagnosed with the disease will be referred to the hospital in Bili.

“The team will be on the road for three to four weeks in a row,” says Turner. “Sometimes they will be on motorbikes to make their way along barely accessible paths through the forest. They will move to a new village every day and sleep in tents. By doing this, we expect to find and cure several hundred infected patients.”

Read more: http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/news/article.cfm?id=6797&cat=field-news

Photo: David Enabukonjo, DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi

Surviving a Bullet Wound

David Enabukonjo uses a crutch to climb to the top of a hill in Bisisi, in eastern Congo. From here he can look out over a lush green landscape of forests and villages that belies its recent history of pain and war. Clashes between armed groups and attacks against villages in the area have caused large numbers of people to leave their homes. 

Some have sought refuge in the town of Bisisi, David among them. Dressed in a grey checked shirt and blue jeans, the 33-year-old picks his way around the tents sheltering displaced people in the town. We talk to him in a nearby abandoned church. He tells us that he was in Cibinda, not far from Bisisi, when an armed group attacked the town on January 2, 2012.

“They arrived and they started burning houses, killing people, and raping women in front of their children,” says David. He tried to run away but was shot in the thigh. “After that, my family tried to find me, but at the beginning they couldn’t because I was hiding in the forest for a couple of days.”

David could finally travel to Bisisi in search of safety. David’s bullet wound was serious, and he was taken for treatment to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). When his wound had healed sufficiently, he returned to Bisisi, a remote town reached by poor roads.

MSF is supporting a health center in Bisisi to help alleviate the suffering of people like David, stranded here by war and waiting for a time when they can either go back to their villages or find a new home.

Doctors Without Borders has expanded its emergency medical programs in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in response to increasing humanitarian needs in the region.

Photo: David Enabukonjo, DRC 2012 © Juan Carlos Tomasi

Surviving a Bullet Wound

David Enabukonjo uses a crutch to climb to the top of a hill in Bisisi, in eastern Congo. From here he can look out over a lush green landscape of forests and villages that belies its recent history of pain and war. Clashes between armed groups and attacks against villages in the area have caused large numbers of people to leave their homes.

Some have sought refuge in the town of Bisisi, David among them. Dressed in a grey checked shirt and blue jeans, the 33-year-old picks his way around the tents sheltering displaced people in the town. We talk to him in a nearby abandoned church. He tells us that he was in Cibinda, not far from Bisisi, when an armed group attacked the town on January 2, 2012.

“They arrived and they started burning houses, killing people, and raping women in front of their children,” says David. He tried to run away but was shot in the thigh. “After that, my family tried to find me, but at the beginning they couldn’t because I was hiding in the forest for a couple of days.”

David could finally travel to Bisisi in search of safety. David’s bullet wound was serious, and he was taken for treatment to Bukavu, the capital of South Kivu, by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). When his wound had healed sufficiently, he returned to Bisisi, a remote town reached by poor roads.

MSF is supporting a health center in Bisisi to help alleviate the suffering of people like David, stranded here by war and waiting for a time when they can either go back to their villages or find a new home.

Doctors Without Borders has expanded its emergency medical programs in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in response to increasing humanitarian needs in the region.

It’s a kind of medical utilitarianism: the patients’ needs come before everything. And people appreciate it: at a checkpoint, a man always gave us bananas because we saved his leg. They show us their babies in the street, and they remind us that the birth was difficult but that they’re still there.

Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work MSF does to help people enduring daily violence.

Despite a volatile security situation, MSF continues to provide free health care in four reference hospitals, 12 health centers, and four health posts in North Kivu, as well as in four reference hospitals, 19 health centers, and five health posts in the province of South Kivu. There are also a number of cholera treatment centers (CTCs), mobile clinics, and emergency response activities.

At the project in Masisi, MSF performed 105,681 medical consultations in 2011. In the Masisi hospital, 7,226 inpatients were admitted for hospital care and 3,947 women gave birth for free.

In North Kivu, Violence is “Hopelessly Commonplace”

At the end of 2011, Doctors Without Borders was the target of a violent attack in Masisi, North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This incident forced the organization to reduce its teams between that November and April of this year. Activities have resumed, but the security situation remains tense. Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work Doctors Without Borders does to help people enduring daily violence.After the attack last November, how did Doctors Without Borders start its activities up again?
Immediately after the attack we reduced the project to several fixed activities with supervision maintained from outside the project. We were mainly working in the hospital and in two health centers, while all our peripheral activities, like mobile clinics, ambulances, and referrals were suspended. We also stopped all public health promotion beyond a 5 kilometer [about 3 mile] radius.
Patients wait at an MSF facility in Masisi, where activities have resumed after a 2011 attack.
DRC 2011 © Peter Casaer

In North Kivu, Violence is “Hopelessly Commonplace”

At the end of 2011, Doctors Without Borders was the target of a violent attack in Masisi, North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This incident forced the organization to reduce its teams between that November and April of this year. Activities have resumed, but the security situation remains tense. Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work Doctors Without Borders does to help people enduring daily violence.

After the attack last November, how did Doctors Without Borders start its activities up again?

Immediately after the attack we reduced the project to several fixed activities with supervision maintained from outside the project. We were mainly working in the hospital and in two health centers, while all our peripheral activities, like mobile clinics, ambulances, and referrals were suspended. We also stopped all public health promotion beyond a 5 kilometer [about 3 mile] radius.

Patients wait at an MSF facility in Masisi, where activities have resumed after a 2011 attack. DRC 2011 © Peter Casaer

It’s unjust that children are still dying of measles, but how do we vaccinate them when it’s impossible to reach certain areas? There are no easy answers, but I still find this appalling. The same for malnutrition. The soil is so fertile there that you can drop anything on the ground and it’ll grow. There shouldn’t be any malnutrition.

Anna Halford, returning from a four-month mission as a project coordinator in DRC, reflects on the work MSF does to help people enduring daily violence.

At the end of 2011, MSF was the target of a violent attack in Masisi, North Kivu, in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). This incident forced the organization to reduce its teams between that November and April of this year. Activities have resumed, but the security situation remains tense.

Read this interview with Anna Halford from her time working with MSF in DRC.

Battling a Fatal Wave of Malaria in DRC


Two tiny caskets covered with fresh dirt lay sit in front of a house on the road connecting the towns of Dingila, the administrative center of the area, and Zobia. Jeanne, a young mother, stands by mutely. “She can’t speak—she is too sad,” explains a neighbor. “Her children died."

More than 18 people in this small village have died in five months. Most were children. Last year, no one died from malaria, which is endemic in the area. But since the beginning of 2012, unusually high rates of malaria and severe anemia—along with exceptionally high mortality rates—have been recorded in Ganga-Dingila. “People say they have never seen anything like this,” says Dr. Narcisse Wega, MSF’s emergency coordinator, who arrived in June to launch medical activities in the region. “Some parents have lost two or three children in just a few weeks.”

A malaria outbreak has struck several regions of Orientale province in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In early June, MSF sent an emergency team into the Ganga-Dingila health region, where approximately 118,000 people live in isolated, hard-to-reach communities that lack access to medical care.Photo: DRC 2012 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF

Battling a Fatal Wave of Malaria in DRC

Two tiny caskets covered with fresh dirt lay sit in front of a house on the road connecting the towns of Dingila, the administrative center of the area, and Zobia. Jeanne, a young mother, stands by mutely. “She can’t speak—she is too sad,” explains a neighbor. “Her children died."

More than 18 people in this small village have died in five months. Most were children. Last year, no one died from malaria, which is endemic in the area. But since the beginning of 2012, unusually high rates of malaria and severe anemia—along with exceptionally high mortality rates—have been recorded in Ganga-Dingila. “People say they have never seen anything like this,” says Dr. Narcisse Wega, MSF’s emergency coordinator, who arrived in June to launch medical activities in the region. “Some parents have lost two or three children in just a few weeks.

A malaria outbreak has struck several regions of Orientale province in northwest Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In early June, MSF sent an emergency team into the Ganga-Dingila health region, where approximately 118,000 people live in isolated, hard-to-reach communities that lack access to medical care.

Photo: DRC 2012 © Aurelie Lachant/MSF

MSF Emergency Teams Treat Nearly 40,000 for Malaria in DRC’s Katanga Province

After a four-month intervention during which MSF treated nearly 40,000 malaria patients, MSF has handed over its emergency malaria project in Kinkondja—a remote area in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—to the Congolese Ministry of Health (MoH).

“During our short intervention, MSF treated almost 40,000 men, women, and children for malaria,” said Melanie Silbermann, MSF’s medical coordinator in Lubumbashi. “When we arrived, one in ten of our patients required immediate hospitalization. In the last weeks of our intervention, this was down to one in 100.”Photo: The crowded facility at MSF’s Kikondja malaria project.
DRC 2012 © Francesco Di Donna

MSF Emergency Teams Treat Nearly 40,000 for Malaria in DRC’s Katanga Province

After a four-month intervention during which MSF treated nearly 40,000 malaria patients, MSF has handed over its emergency malaria project in Kinkondja—a remote area in the Katanga province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)—to the Congolese Ministry of Health (MoH).

“During our short intervention, MSF treated almost 40,000 men, women, and children for malaria,” said Melanie Silbermann, MSF’s medical coordinator in Lubumbashi. “When we arrived, one in ten of our patients required immediate hospitalization. In the last weeks of our intervention, this was down to one in 100.”

Photo: The crowded facility at MSF’s Kikondja malaria project.
DRC 2012 © Francesco Di Donna

Fighting in North Kivu Prevents Cholera Treatment

The resumption of fighting in the Rutshuru district of North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is preventing people from accessing essential care in the midst of a cholera outbreak, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

“Some roads are blocked or unsafe and it is difficult for people to access health facilities,” said Mickael Le Paih, MSF head of mission in North Kivu. “There have been significantly less people coming to the hospital.”MSF’s efforts to treat cholera in Rutshuru have been hampered by conflict.
DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

Fighting in North Kivu Prevents Cholera Treatment

The resumption of fighting in the Rutshuru district of North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is preventing people from accessing essential care in the midst of a cholera outbreak, the international medical humanitarian organization MSF said today.

“Some roads are blocked or unsafe and it is difficult for people to access health facilities,” said Mickael Le Paih, MSF head of mission in North Kivu. “There have been significantly less people coming to the hospital.”

MSF’s efforts to treat cholera in Rutshuru have been hampered by conflict.
DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

Violence in Congo Forces Families To Run

Fighting has worsened once again over the last few months in North and South Kivu provinces, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. As a result, people are being killed or injured, and thousands of families are on the move seeking safety.


Since April, MSF has treated more than 200 patients who were wounded as a direct result of clashes between armed actors in the region. Teams are also supporting two health centers and treating patients for malnutrition. Photo by Emily Lynch/MSF

Violence in Congo Forces Families To Run

Fighting has worsened once again over the last few months in North and South Kivu provinces, in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. As a result, people are being killed or injured, and thousands of families are on the move seeking safety.

Since April, MSF has treated more than 200 patients who were wounded as a direct result of clashes between armed actors in the region. Teams are also supporting two health centers and treating patients for malnutrition.

Photo by Emily Lynch/MSF

We awoke to the sound of gunshots at 6am on Thursday morning. They were louder than normal. All the expats and our guards and driver piled into the safe room. This is a rather uncomfortable small space underneath our stairs which is protected by concrete and sandbags…
Angeline, a physician with MSF writes about an early morning gunfight in Kitchanga in the North Kivu province of Eastern the Democratic Republic of Congo on her blog.
Conflict’s Impact on the Population in Eastern DRC

The population of the Kivu provinces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is fighting to survive, not only against the bullets flying in the latest peak of this long-running conflict but also against the vacuum of infrastructure and health resources.

Since April 2012, MSF has treated more than 200 people wounded during clashes between armed groups. Yet the number of patients admitted with bullet wounds or machete cuts only hints at the impact this conflict is having on the health and well-being of people in this troubled region.Photo: DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

Conflict’s Impact on the Population in Eastern DRC

The population of the Kivu provinces in the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is fighting to survive, not only against the bullets flying in the latest peak of this long-running conflict but also against the vacuum of infrastructure and health resources.

Since April 2012, MSF has treated more than 200 people wounded during clashes between armed groups. Yet the number of patients admitted with bullet wounds or machete cuts only hints at the impact this conflict is having on the health and well-being of people in this troubled region.

Photo: DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

We were determined to get to our destination as we had to do a soap distribution and finish construction of 40 latrines. 6 cold, muddy and wet hours later, we were 1.5km from our destination. We were finally defeated when a landslide came between us and there. It was almost evening and we had to drive back to the nearest village to take shelter…
Angeline Wee is a family physician working in Kitchanga in the North Kivu province of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This is her second mission with MSF.
Despite Intensifying Conflict in North Kivu, MSF Continues to Provide Health Care

Despite the growing complexity of an already unstable situation in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), MSF continues to provide primary and secondary health care to the population, supporting 4 reference hospitals, 12 health centers, 4 health posts, several cholera treatment centers (CTCs), weekly mobile clinics, and emergency response activities as required.

“In the last several weeks, we have seen an increase in cases of malnutrition, respiratory infections, and STIs, in addition to treating or providing support to more than two dozen patients directly wounded from the fighting,” reports Corry Kik, MSF medical coordinator in North Kivu.Photo: An MSF staff member examines a young patient in Birambizo Health Zone in North Kivu
DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

Despite Intensifying Conflict in North Kivu, MSF Continues to Provide Health Care

Despite the growing complexity of an already unstable situation in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), MSF continues to provide primary and secondary health care to the population, supporting 4 reference hospitals, 12 health centers, 4 health posts, several cholera treatment centers (CTCs), weekly mobile clinics, and emergency response activities as required.

“In the last several weeks, we have seen an increase in cases of malnutrition, respiratory infections, and STIs, in addition to treating or providing support to more than two dozen patients directly wounded from the fighting,” reports Corry Kik, MSF medical coordinator in North Kivu.

Photo: An MSF staff member examines a young patient in Birambizo Health Zone in North Kivu DRC 2012 © Emily Lynch/MSF

There was a lady who had been traveling with her two little children. She had been shot in her chest. She was lucky as the bullet had lodged in muscle and did not hit lung. The next gentleman was not so lucky…
Angeline Wee is a family physician working in Kitchanga in the North Kivu province of Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This is her second mission with MSF. Read more on her blog.
By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC


“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.”

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley
Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.

By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC

“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.

Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.